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A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel Hardcover – January 25, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 233 customer reviews

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The Underground Railroad
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A mesmerizing tale of a family coping with the revelation of a secret that will change their lives. . . Jackson's most absorbing book yet, a lush, rich read with three very different but equally compelling characters at its core."―Kristine Huntley, Booklist (Starred Review)

"Liza, as the unreliable narrator, is used to perfection in this warm family story that teeters between emotional highs and lows, laughter and tears. Book groups will eat this up."―Library Journal

"A Southern charmer, laced with humor, mystery and affairs of the heart.... A valentine to the bonds of family!"―Family Circle

"Snappy dialogue with a Southern twang, spiritual uplift and undeniably likable characters."―Kirkus Reviews

"Highly immersive... a compelling page turner."―Publishers Weekly

"[There are] hundreds of moving parts in the machinery of Jackson's intricate mystery, all deliciously unraveled one tantalizing clue at a time."―Gina Webb, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"A deeply felt, engaging story."―The Atlantic

"Three generations of Slocumbs grapple with deep-buried family secrets in this entertaining Southern whodunit."―All You Magazine

"Highly immersive... a compelling page turner."―PW

"Jackson's signature style-the feisty, bighearted voice of Gods in Alabama and Backseat Saints-propels this funny, dark whodunit, where strong women who've made bad choices band together to come out on top."―Melissa Ruggieri, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Engrossing... A mystery, comedy and drama wrapped up in one."―Katie Lewis, Bookpage

"Gripping."―Chris Waddington, The Times Picayune

"A quirky mystery that serves up a delicious blend of likeable characters, plot twists and life as seen through the eyes of three remarkable women in a Southern family, namely Mosey, Ginny, and Liza. The dialogue is authentic and the writing insightful and unexpectedly witty."―Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen

"A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty proves again that Joshilyn Jackson is one the best writers of the new generation. This spellbinding novel unfolds through the voices of three women in one family: a grandmother, a mother, a young daughter. Jackson renders each of these women with vivid tenderness, ferocity, and great humor, so that the family itself becomes the fourth vital character in the story. You will find yourself rooting for them all, to the very last page."―Mark Childress, author of Georgia Bottoms and Crazy in Alabama

"An unforgettable story of generational dysfunction and sloppily buried secrets."―Theresa Weaver, Atlanta Magazine

"Reading A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty feels a lot like falling in love: giddy and enthralling and a little bit dangerous. It's a heart-thumping mystery, an edge-of-your-seat drama, and a fiercely sweet comedy all at once, with a fistful of crazy-brave characters who reach from up the wild pages and grip your heart. I loved this book about what it means to be a family for its big heart, its pitch-perfect dialogue and the clever plot twists I've come to expect from Jackson. Book clubs take note: Here's your next pick!"―Sara Gruen, NYT bestselling author of Water for Elephants and Ape House

"Madness! Mayhem! Laughter! Tears! Emotional rollercoasters, old lies and an unmarked grave propel the Slocumb women into action. Joshilyn Jackson's signature style explodes in A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY. Buckle up and enjoy!"―Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Very Valentine

About the Author

Joshilyn Jackson, a native of the Deep South, has worked as an actor and an award-winning teacher, and is now a writer and a mother of two. She is the author of gods in Alabama; Between, Georgia; The Girl Who Stopped Swimming; and Backseat Saints. Jackson lives with her husband and children outside of Atlanta. Visit her website at www.joshilynjackson.com.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First edition (January 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446582352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446582353
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,217,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'd never read anything by Joshilyn Jackson before and was honoured to receive an ARC from our shared agent. I'm now a fan. I'm off to buy the rest of her books today.

"A Grown-Up Kind Of Pretty" dives fearlessly into the lives and psyches of three completely different women, including one who has suffered a massive stroke. The personalities of these women, shaped through hard, grasping lives, are so real, so accessible it makes it entirely natural to love and hate just as fiercely as they do. I roared at Jackson's straightforward humour; her dialogues are quick and smart and completely perfect. I thought I was tough, going through the book and living the women's pain without shedding a tear, but she got me in the end and the tears came from much deeper than I'd ever have expected.
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Format: Hardcover
The novel starts out with Big (Virginia), 45 years old and her fears that something bad is going to happen. After all, something bad seems to happen every 15 years. She had her daughter Liza when she was 15 years old. In turn, Liza had her own daughter Mosey when SHE was 15. Liza had a massive stroke at Mosey's school dance when she was 30, and she is still recovering, unable to communicate and struggling to remember the tiniest things. With Mosey now getting ready to turn 15, Big worries that Mosey will repeat both her own and Liza's behavior, and end up pregnant at 15 as well.

Mosey, however, is determined that SHE will NOT follow in those footsteps. Despite being a virgin, she has a supply of pregnancy tests that she uses "just to be sure".

When a silver box with infant bones is found on Big's property as the willow tree is being removed to put a pool in for Liza's therapy, the mystery of where the bones came from and whose bones they are pulls at Big and the reader as Mosey and her friends work to figure it out as well.

Told in the alternating POV's of all three sassy women (Liza in third person, Big and Mosey in 1st), this tale of three women from "the wrong side of the tracks" is authentic and heartwarming, full of wit as well as sadness. You will cheer them on, and, applaud Big's strength as she faces the person who could tear her Mosey away from her.

I LOVED all of them. Closing the pages on this one was difficult, as I'd instantly become immersed in their story. I cheered Liza in her small steps to recover from her stroke and laughed at the way she "played" her mom sometimes. Big has a huge heart full of love and protectiveness for her family (a lioness, that woman!). Mosey is an awesome teen, and her quirky friendships made me smile.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I haven't read a story this good in years! It's a mystery and a love story and a story about the strength of women all infused with so much humor that I laughed outloud! I literally could not put it down.
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Format: Hardcover
This one is to be highly anticipated. A well thought out mystery/suspense that'll leave you in shock. Jackson has thought of everything you could ask for in a book! Full of danger, love, heartache and hope.

In this remarkable story you will meet all three Slocumb women. Everyone calls the oldest in the family Big. Next we meet Big's daughter Liza, and finally the remarkable Mosey. Mosey is Liza's daughter, following in the bad line of Big's theory of the fifteen year doom.

They are upon the fifteen year mark and Liza has suffered a stroke. So bad off, she can't even talk, much less walk on her own. That's not where this story really starts though. It's when Big wants to cut down Liza's tree to put in a swimming pool for her therapy. Mosey begs her not to because that tree isn't just any ol' tree, it's special. Liza went to that tree for many reasons. To think, be alone, and even to put her sobriety pins on it. She was a part of that tree.

Mosey just can't get Big to change her mind. Mosey thinks the tree is better for Liza, Big thinks the pool will be. Alas, the tree comes down. And that's when everything goes downhill. As Liza comes screaming out the back door, a tiny little box is found with something inside. Something that will question just who Mosey is.
Everything has just been turned upside down. Their whole world and everything they knew.
What did Liza put in that box?
And how can Big fix it without Mosey finding out the truth?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the fifth book Jackson has written. Of the 5, I believe this is her best, so far.
You certainly don't want to put the book down until you are finished. It holds you and pulls you along with it.

Quite a lot of detail work was done by jackson to pull this one off so perfectly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This story is told through 3 women, all 3 are 15 years apart in age. After Liza (the middle one in age) has a stroke at the young age of 30, her mother, Big, is left to care for Liza's daughter Mosey. Big also takes on the responsibility of continuing Liza's physical Therapy after the state stops paying for her treatment. When Big goes to install a pool in their backyard so that Liza's therapy can happen at home, they dig up a child's skeleton. From here the story begins to weave on and out between the past and present and gives us a nice mystery to follow.

I won't lie, I was really interested in this story from the beginning, until about the 30% mark. From there it really dragged. It picked up again around the 60% mark. I almost didn't finish it, but I'm glad I did. I liked how everything was wrapped up in the end.

I did find this book difficult to follow with the three different voices it was told in (let alone Mosey's awful teenage language, "unpossible" apparently is a word) and it definitely was the reason for at least a star being knocked off. It does take place in a small town in Alabama, but I don't think that gives it the excuse to be as improper with English as it was.

It was a good book club book for sure, and I would recommend it for that, however that's probably what I would keep it to. Decent story, but nothing incredibly special.
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